We asked our musical chums to share either their favourite tunes of 2009, or if 2009 failed to produce anything that significantly moved them, anything else that had been on their I-pod/portable music device/stereo/ Wax cylinder phonograph etc …(delete where applicable) during the year…
Now many of you will be aware that The Jesus & Mary Chain are my absolute favourite band of all time, so when Jim Reid, yes, JIM REID! agreed to join in, well, I almost fell over! Definitely my blog highlight of the year…so without further ado….
Universal Plan – Earl Brutus
Nick (Sanderson) told me he had formed a band, they were called Earl Brutus, they all wore pale blue safari suits, and that I should come along and see them play live. I did. From his brief description I had expected some kind of novelty band, along the lines of Mike Flowers Pops, but Christ was I wrong. What I got was a visually spectacular sonic assault. Like The Stooges, Sex Pistols and Kraftwerk put through a mincer, and how could I have guessed that Nick for so long a drummer would be the best front man I have ever seen.
Earl Brutus were simply one of the best bands that I’ve ever heard. The fact that they never made it will always be a mystery to me. I lost faith in the music business after the demise of Earl Brutus. Nick was my mate, but that has nothing to do with anything. They were quite simply brilliant, and in a fair world they would have been to the 90s what the Sex Pistols were to the 70s, but the world is far from fair. I believe that great bands will form in the future as a result of hearing Earl Brutus records.
Cocaine – Dick Justice
Came across this by chance looking for free music on the internet. Got it from a site called PublicDomain4U. It was recorded in 1929 and the original was from a couple of years earlier and was by Luke Jordan, but it think I prefer this version. Great lyrics
Guitar On My Mind – Duane and Miriam Eddy
This is a Lee Hazelwood song from the album Strung Out On Something new. Sounds like sort of a blueprint for Some Velvet Morning, but I’m not really sure which one came first.
Two Ways Out – Darker My Love
We played some shows on the West Coast of the USA in 2007 and Darker My Love opened up and I was pretty impressed really. They gave us a copy of their album but most of the songs they were playing hadn’t been recorded yet. This song bears more than a passing resemblance to Alright by Supergrass, but don’t let that put you off.
They’re Talking About Us – The Tronics
Another one of those bands that should have happened. I have always been a sucker for ultra lo-fi music. The drums on this sound like rolled up newspapers being hit against an old suitcase, and just when you are thinking these guys can’t play a note a lead guitar comes in , which I probably couldn’t play after 10 years of guitar lessons. The lyrics are brilliant.
Early Riser – Plus-Tech Squeeze Box
I saw this years ago on the Adam and Joe Show from the series in Tokyo and I thought it was great. Pop music the way only the Japs know how.
Final Solution – Pere Ubu
An anthem for weird loners everywhere. I’ll bet every serial killer in the last 20 years owns a copy.
Godstar – Psychic TV
1985’s indie scene tended to be like a celebration of drabdom, spotty and jerky, sounding more like masturbation than music. so to hear a song called Godstar about Brian Jones with a tune written by Alex Ferguson had to be a winner really. I had been listening to Ferguson’s stuff for a while. I liked The Cash Pussies and the stuff he did with Alternative TV.
Hiroshima Mon Amour – Ultravox
There’s 2 versions of this and I love them both, but I think I prefer the upbeat guitar version that was on the b-side of Rockwrok.
All Your Favourite Records – Tompaulin
I co-produced a single for Tom Paulin a few years ago but I was going through my alcoholic period at the time and although I think it turned out pretty good I think they recorded better records on their own, and I’m really fond of this understated little gem.
Bring Me The Head Of Yukio Mishima – Snivelling Shits
I didn’t hear this until about 5 years ago. I’d remembered The Snivelling Shits from punk days and I remember reading the review of Terminal Stupid but I thought it was more or less just a bit of a gag really since it was all to do with music journalists and stuff but then I heard the cd that came out a few years back called I Can’t Come, and it was just amazing, it was as good as anything that came out of the punk movement.
No One Is Innocent – Sex Pistols
The Swindle album never really got the recognition it deserves. I’ve always loved it. I mean maybe it wasn’t the Sex Pistols proper but it was pretty surreal , and there were some really great Cook and Jones songs on there. This song always makes me smile, and I still love it after all these years.
M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U. – The Kills
The Kills , I suppose to put it simply, make my kind of rock ‘n’ roll – no fucking about just straight down to it. Great songs and a great guitar sound, and just about the right amount of technology.
Passing Through – Leonard Cohen
I played this song a lot around about the time when my mother died a couple of years ago and it really takes me back to that time. I can’t really listen to it now without getting a little teary.
Carmelita – Warren Zevon
I wasn’t terribly familiar with Warren Zevon until someone gave me the Genius: Best Of album a few years ago and Carmelita just sounded amazing. Musically it is so accomplished and melodically sweet, but lyrically it deals with no hoper junkies in LA in the mid 70s. I guess it’s kind of psycho and Candy.
Beasley Street – John Cooper Clarke
JCC is often overlooked but at his best there wasn’t anybody better. I mean Christ this is as good as Dylan. Every single line in this song is like a fucking punch, absolute genius.
Jack On Fire – Gun Club
I used to run into Jeffrey on the odd occasion in the 1980s and I think he must have been a bit schizophrenic he could go from extreme friendliness to aggression bordering on psychotic in the blink of an eye, and from many mutual friends we had I heard many crazed stories, but didn’t the boy make great music? This was the first Gun Club song I ever heard, I still love it after all these years.
Two Sunsets – Pastels/Tenniscoats
I pretty much like anything that involves the Pastels & I usually say so any chance I get! This is no different -fragile music that I am really glad exists.
Electric Rock & Roll – Go-Kart Mozart
Starting to realise that there seems to be a theme running through my selections: bands that never made it, that should have. I always liked Felt, and Denim, likewise Go-Kart Mozart. Cheap synths, biscuit tin drum machines and like the songs says electric rock & roll.
Fat Man In The Bathtub – Little Feat
This song was actually chosen by my wife, Julie. Who would have thought that fat guys in white dungarees could have made such good music?”
John Moore (Black Box Recorder, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The John Moore Rock n’ Roll Trio )
The only end of year poll worth having is a large erection on New Years Eve…However, I have been most impressed this year by a new up and coming band of chancers going by the ridiculous name of The John Moore Rock And Roll Trio featuring The Loose Moorelles. I’ve seen them a couple of times, and I have to admit that they’re not too bad – the singer’s a bit of a slob, but the women are hot and the band makes a hell of a racket.
Black Box Recorder dipped their gangrenous old toes back into the water, but then lay frozen in the bath tub for four days until the meals on wheels lady knocked the door down…needless to say, the scene was a depressing one and the stench was overpowering. No deaths were shittier than that of Lux Interior, whose lux interior seriously let him down in the end. I am not a fan of Michael Jackson, although I feel saddened that he never got the chance to go out on a high…he deserved to..That is not a drug joke, it is sincere.
Nothing much springs to mind when I think about vibrant new culture, but then again, I’m getting on a bit. I had hoped for the complete collapse of society a return to bartering, and the show trial and execution of bankers and most government parasites…it’ll have to wait until 2010, but it IS coming.
I have been quite pleased that the male menopause seems to have passed my door without knocking once again and that I have – if anything, slightly more hair than last year – albeit some growing from my ears…still, at my age, hair is hair, wherever it sprouts from.
If anything, I am more divorced from society than I was at this time last year, so hopefully 2010 will see me asbo’d and given an exclusion order not to come within a thousand feet of polite society. A merry Christmas to all and a happy new year. How hollow those words sound. XX
Laura Barton ( The Guardian, The Loose Moorelles)
This is so very very tricky, more songs I’ve loved this year keep falling into my head… But anyway, here goes…
Bon Iver – Beach Baby
I’m contractually bound to mention Bon Iver as many times as possible in any paragraph, but that aside, this dong has been my constant companion since January. It’s a brief, odd little ditty that kind of breaks my heart and mends it at the same time. If that doesn’t sound too contradictory and/or wanky. It’s also really beautiful. Bonus fact: I’ve spent a lot of 2009 writing a book, and this song has been my favourite music to write to.
Noah & the Whale – My Door is Always Open
I love a good break-up album, and the Noah album was my favourite example this year. This is its closing track, and it moves from despondency to a kind of defiant, open-hearted joy in just a few minutes. The closing refrain “I love with my heart/ And I hold with my hands/ But you know/ My heart’s not yours” just buckles me every single time.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Skeletons (acoustic)
I rate Karen O as one of the best songwriters in the world today – a fact illustrated by her ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ soundtrack and by the YYYs record ‘It’s Blitz.’ It was the acoustic versions that accompanied the latter that really brought this home to me. For all the terrific boom and bombast of the original It’s Blitz, the acoustic versions, stripped back, skeletal, really showcased her songwriting prowess. Karen O hadn’t sounded this vulnerable or this mesmerising since Maps.
Jamie T – Emily’s Heart
This year’s Jamie T album was one of my favourite records of the year, and this was my favourite track – a dark tale of a shotgun and a woman wronged. He’s one of the most talented artists in Britain today and by rights deserves to be huge.
The Maccabees -Seventeen Hands
I liked the first Maccabees album, but never thought they would graduate beyond cutesy indie. This year proved me wrong – Wall of Arms was a brilliant, complex, powerful record. This track, about Orlando Weeks’ grandparents, a proposal and a horse seventeen hands high, is such an extraordinary, romantic tale that I was truly smitten.
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
George Pringle – Carte Postale
and Emmy the Great -MIA (I’ve not included them as really I fell in love with them last year)
Beth Jeans Houghton – Golden
Marina & the Diamonds – Obsessions
Edward Sharpe – Home
Girls – Lust for Life
Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
Chapel Club – All the Eastern Girls
The Xx – Stars
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks ( an oldie, but seeing it live blew my tiny mind)
“I’ve really enjoyed Frank Turner’s ‘Love & Ire’ album this year, my Brother turned me onto it after seeing him at Beautiful Days. Devin Townsend’s ‘Ocean Machine’ album got a lot of plays at our house this year too, I believe that was released in 2003, either way, it’s a beautiful piece of work.
Erica & I played with a band called Ten Minute Turns in NYC in August & their album, ‘Return To Robot City’, has been with us ever since. I rediscovered Luke Haines project from the mid ’90’s , Baader Meinhoff, after reading his biography “Britpop; My Part in it’s Downfall“. That’s a f*ckin’ great album.
But I suppose most listened to in 2009 for me has been Dirty Ray. He used to be Kevin Weatherall of Immaculate Fools but these days he’s Dirty Ray. I recorded/produced three of his songs for the ‘Shared’ album & will be recording an album with him in January & February 2010. The demos he has given me of new songs are wonderful, really looking forward to working with him.”
“Meet Me At The Airport” –Baader Mienhof
Florence and the Machine- Cosmic Love
Kings of Leon- Sex on Fire
Empire of the Sun –Standing on The Shore –
MGMT -Electric Feel
Anthony Heggarty – (Beyonce’s )Crazy in Love ___________________________________________________________________________
“The Noodle Song – by a random busking skiffle band in Mauerpark, Berlin
Like A Rolling Stone – by the mad homeless on the Cliffe Bridge
Young and Sexy – by Lily Rae and the Saturday Girls
Dear Lily – by Dan Bull
Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – by The Ink Spots (which actually came out in 1941 but which was on the Fallout 3 soundtrack, thus making it part of better art than any of these dreadful bands that the young people like)”
“The Recession Song by The Indelicates
Bob Dylan Christmas Album
Everybody was in the French Resistance… Now
Keep That Control by Scream Club
Anything by Lily Rae and by Keith Totp, both with stuff I’ve heard that’s out next year ”
“Regina Spektor: Genuis Next Door.
Mumford and Sons: Little Lion Man.
Bat For Lashes: Glass.
Biffy Clyro: That Golden Rule.
Mumford and Sons: “I Gave You All.”
“The Trashcan Sinatras: ‘People’
Moving from the west coast of Scotland to the west coast of America has obviously done Irving’s darling buds of pop a favour. Gone are the austere and desolate love songs from the ‘Weightlifting’ era – replaced by buoyant, confident musings, of which ‘People’ is a fine illustration of the band’s newfound optimism. Crikey, after years of the dreadful Travis et al we may even see a delightful return of the phrase ‘jingly-jangly’.
‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ – Kelly Clarkson
“A controversial choice perhaps. Mostly because of this girls connection with ‘that’ Simon Cowell. Everyone knows what Detox Cute thinks of Si-Co (to recap, not much). Perhaps if he did what he meant to do – find ‘THE ULTIMATE POP STAR’, that would be that. But no, he wants to find one every year! Twice, if you take into account the show he does over Easter – then the one for Christmas. Hmmm. Anyway, Kelly won the very first series of ‘American Idol’. Like our own home grown Will Young, she has now managed to distance herself from the show, and create her very own place on our pop palette. We like singing along to pop, and this song has sing-along-ability in spades. Big sassy vocals and a driving pop beat that makes me wiggle my hips. Thank you Kelly – oh, and we love the lollipop!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h09_1qdkFIA (in case you don’t thinks we should do it!)
Morrissey: ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’
“I don’t know about ‘Last of the Famous International Playboys’ but Moz is surely one of the last of the intelligent pop stars this country has. Where else would you find wit, wisdom and humour in lyrics as well as swooning arrangements and crooning vocals? George Michael’s lost it, Damon’s last project was, quite frankly, dull and even Noel Gallagher’s little comedy songs aren’t funny anymore. So it’s left up to S.P. Morrissey to carry the flag first unfurled by Lennon, McCartney, Ray Davies, Marc Bolan and Adam Ant. What’s that you say? Razorlight? Hmm, don’t think so! “
“’I Haven’t Met You Yet’ – Michael Buble
Our band doesn’t have mega bucks, and now the car CD player is bust we so we have to rely on the radio for entertainment on our journeys to gigs. Usually we listen to local radio, much of which is actually Heart FM or something. Anyway, they are in cahoots to make sure that they play Michael Buble AT LEAST 17 times during each journey we go on. We know all the words to this song. Whether we want to or not. I’m sure you are lovely Michael, but blimey, enough now lovey.”
(you know this one!)
“Husky Rescue: ‘We Shall Burn Bright’
Maybe it’s the long dark winters that the Fins are less inclined to chase various sized and shaped pig’s bladders around in the mud and more likely to spend their time figuring out chord sequences to beautiful, ambient pop songs. Quite simply, this is the best song I’ve heard all year – it’s as if Kraftwerk held a party and invited The Human League, Frazier Chorus, Camera Obscura, Dressy Bessy and Can to come and watch the first snows of winter fall on the ground while sipping funny-coloured cocktails with sparklers in the glass. Dazzling.”
“Michachu: Golden Phone All of Run Toto Run have been obsessed with her for the last year or so, we’ve seen her about 5 times this year.
Ellie Goulding: Starry Eyed, even though I don’t think it’s had a proper release yet, it’s such a perfect beautiful little song
The XX: Crystallised : What a wonderful and unexpected breakthrough band for 2009, this has been a fave in RTR’s touring coupe.
Bombay Bicycle Club:Always Like This. Definitely another RTR fave, as our cover proves. Matt has a short attention span and car DJs whenever we’re on a trip and there’s usually no space for repeat tracks, but every time this is on, it gets to the end and I say “can we have that one again” and he always gladly obliges.
The Passion Pit Remix of Dan Black’s Symphonies has been a feature of many of this year’s car journeys.”
Here are my 5 favorites, in no particular order:
1. Ezra Furman – Take Off Your Sunglasses
The very first time I heard this song, I absolutely loved it. Eddie and I were driving around LA when it came on the radio, and at exactly the same time both of us stopped talking right as we heard his voice so we could listen. It’s so rare that a song is so immediate and reels you in so completely – we went home and bought the album right away.
2. Sweaters – every song they have
Sweaters is my favorite band in LA at the moment. They are also very close friends with my band The Blood Arm, so I have had the great privilege of seeing nearly all of their live shows and listening to the demos their singer Jordan sends out on an almost weekly basis. They play fantastically catchy piano-based rock that has an almost ’70s vibe to it. I love everything they have written, so I couldn’t choose a single song. Go listen to them right now: www.myspace.com/sweatersdontjudge. You’re welcome!
3. The Fiery Furnaces – Keep Me in the Dark
I’m a huge Fiery Furnaces fan (I even regularly listen to the grandmother album). “I’m Going Away” is their best album in years – the songs are more structured and poppier, and the lyrics and music completely pull you into Fiery Furnaces world, which is a fantastic place to be! I think my favorite track is Keep Me in the Dark. Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! are supporting them in Paris in February, and I can’t wait!
4. Art Brut – Alcoholics Unanimous
I know it’s a bit cheeky to name one of my boyfriend’s songs on this list, but it genuinely is one of my favorite songs of the year. And after seeing it live probably hundreds of times, I still get excited when they play it. Great music, great lyrics, and I can’t get enough of the call-and-response backing vocals. I got to be in the video for this song which was great fun – we had a “brawl” sequence in which I got to “elbow-drop” Ian, the guitarist. It went fine in rehearsal but when we actually shot it, I messed up and actually elbow-dropped him with full force. I felt terrible but I think Ian kind of likes being beat up, so it was OK in the end.
5. Beyonce – Single Ladies
Obvious choice, but anyone who doesn’t put this song on their end-of-the-year favorites list is lying.
“Bat For Lashes – Daniel -Saw her live earlier in the year and she was awesome
Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana -You can’t talk about 2009 without a nod to the king of pop.
The Prodigy – Omen -One of the best live bands around, a force to be reckoned with.
Linkin Park – New Divide -Shit film but we’re suckers for an epic tune.
Lady Ga-Ga-Paparazzi -You’ve got to take your hat off to her, she dominated the charts in 2009 plus her songs are serious earworms.”
“Flaming Lips– Silver Trembling Stars
St Vincent – Help Me
Anything by Dungen
The entire new Echo and the Bunnymen record
The Avett Brothers– And It Spread
Also Neko Case’s “Vengeance” oh and the Alberta Cross record.”
Donna Grimaldi – Katsen
“Some were released late 2008 I think…
School of Seven Bells -Iamundernodisguise (Alpinisms)
Passion Pit- I’ve Got Your Number (Chunk of Change EP)
Telepathe -Devil’s Trident
Metric -Help I’m Alive (Fantasies)
Chairlift -Bruises (Does You Inspire You)”
Phil King ( Lush, Felt, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The John Moore Rock n’ Roll Trio)
Don´t really listen to much new stuff. Actually that´s not true as I hear new releases all day in the ‘Uncut’ office. I liked The XX album.”
“Empire of the Sun -We Are The People
Golden Silvers – Arrows of Eros
The XX – Crystallised
Nneka – Heartbeat (chase and status remix)
Kings of Leon – Revelry”
1. The Kills– Last Day of Magic
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -Heads Will Roll
3. Wild Beasts All The Kings Men
4. PJ Harvey- Black Hearted Love
5. The Dead Weather -Treat Me Like Your Mother
Oliver Gordon Dogwood (Cheambeat Radio and TV presenter, VPME Record Review panel member and occasional contributor)
Thanks to everyone and special thanks to Julie.